Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary, but most tourists from the UK will visit Budapest without sparing much thought for the rest of this intriguing middle-European country. This is a shame as they will miss out on the charms and attractions of Hungary’s second largest city, which was actually once the country’s capital.
When you take a simple stroll around the town centre of Debrecen you are surrounded with clues to the city’s past and reminders of its fascinating history. You will see a number of old administrative buildings, like the buildings of Old City Hall and the Financial Palace and also a number of ecclesiastical gems. Old houses line historic streets, spanning the breadth of history from the mediaeval times to the present day. There is some statuary and a charming main square that has become a real community space.
Debrecen is a University town, which means that it is full of culture and learning and a vibrant student-led nightlife. The elite university ejects some life and youth into the city and brings it a more cosmopolitan feel. You will see not only historic University buildings but also a botanical gardens run by the university on a site of eight hectares, two of which are taken up by ancient oak woodland. In these gardens you will find greenhouses with a quite remarkable selection of succulents.
One of the unique historic attractions that make Debrecen such an interesting place to visit is the Irinye House. This was home to the chemist who invented the noiseless and non-explosive match (he mixed phosphorus with lead dioxide instead of potassium chlorate in the head of the match). He was one of the first propagators of modern chemistry and he had a significant contribution to the formation of Hungarian terminology of chemistry. Here you can find out about his life, political involvement during the War of Independence, and his chemistry work.
Another interesting place to visit is the architecturally eclectic where glass manufacturer Endre Kaszanyitzky had his shop. This is a fascinating building which was rebuilt several times and so shows a quirky mix of different architectural styles. This is just one of many eclectic buildings in the city that have slowly evolved or been changed or added to over the years.
While Debrecen may not be able to pack as much touristic punch as its big brother, Budapest, it is still well worth a visit for anyone who wants to get to know the real Hungary and perhaps also get away from the worst of the tourist crowds. Nearby, for those who want to tour a little rather than just enjoy a city break, there are a number of pleasant local lakes and beauty spots, where you can enjoy some tranquillity and relaxation on the Hungarian Plains. Visit TraveleZe For Cheap Holidays